Quitting Smoking Pointers

Discussion created by Sylvia_Deitz on Sep 24, 2009
Latest reply on Sep 27, 2009 by angie5

After a meal Choose nonsmoking restaurants - or at least the nonsmoking section. If you normally smoke at the table, get up and get going quickly. Take a walk, or go out for a special dessert.

In the car
Before you quit, clean out all ashtrays, get your car's interior cleaned and get an air freshener you like. When driving, try new radio stations or get books on tape. You may want to have dental toothpicks or carrot and celery sticks handy.

Watching or playing sports
Hang out with the nonsmokers during and after sports events. Park farther away than normal, and walk briskly to and from the event. If you're watching, avoid alcohol - it's not only a trigger, it affects judgment and willpower. And if you're playing, think how much your game will improve!

Bored or killing time
Find some other time-killers you enjoy, like crossword puzzles or pocket games, electronic or otherwise. Read. Get some worry beads for your hands. Or do something to energize yourself: Stretch out, take a walk or call a friend.

Need a pick-me-up
Do something to energize yourself. Stand up and stretch out. Take a short walk. Shop for something to reward yourself for staying smoke-free - either on-line, or in stores. Go visit someone you like (stick to nonsmokers for a while).

With coffee
Drink your coffee in a different place - try the living room. Use a different mug. Even better, try a different beverage, like tea.

Getting home
Change your routine. Think about exercising when you get home. Take the kids or pets out for a walk or bike ride. Go to a park. Do some housework or gardening. And have your drapes and upholstery cleaned right after you quit, so you can enjoy the clean smell of your smoke-free home.

After breakfast
Eat something different for breakfast - maybe try fruit and yogurt - and eat it in a different place. When you're done, get up and get going!

After an argument or confrontation
Find a way to let off some steam. Take a brisk walk. Ride a bike (or exercise bike). Then, take a little time to think back over the argument - and how you may handle things better in the future. Smokers sometimes seek consolation with a cigarette instead of standing up for their belief or position (without being argumentative) in the first place.

During a stressful event or period
If you're dealing with a stressful situation, make an effort to relax your muscles every now and then. Simply close your eyes, visualize something that calms you, breathe slowly and deeply for 10 breaths, and consciously relax every part of your body. Take some extra time for a relaxing bath. Think about taking up a stress-reducer like yoga or meditation. Regular exercise helps reduce stress as well.

Parties or social events
This is especially tough if others are smoking and more still if alcohol is served (it can affect your judgment and willpower). This is a situation that's better to avoid for a few weeks. If you can't avoid it, confide in a nonsmoker who will be there and ask him/her to help you avoid smoking. Practice saying, "No thanks; I don't smoke," in case you are offered a cigarette.

Depressed or feeling blue
It's not easy when you're feeling down, but getting up and doing something - going somewhere - is a great answer. A movie, a mall, a park, downtown shopping. Or call an old friend or family member you haven't talked to in a while. Share your good news about quitting

With drinks
This is a tough one! Alcohol is not only a trigger for many smokers, it also affects your judgment and willpower. It's probably a good idea to avoid alcohol for a few weeks, or at least cut down. Try club soda, tonic water or a sugar-free soda. Ask for a straw or swizzle stick to play with.

To relax or unwind
Learning how to relax without smoking is important. Some people find hobbies or gardening relaxing. Others may enjoy a crossword. In the evening, light some candles, turn down the lights and put on some music you enjoy. Take a relaxing bath. Or simply breathe deeply for 10 breaths, and consciously relax every part of your body.

Just before bed
If you look forward to a short smoking getaway, you can still enjoy those five minutes - just go a different spot, and instead of a cigarette, have a noncaffeinated herbal tea, or light some candles and unwind. If you're feeling restless, try a glass of warm milk or herbal tea to calm down.

When I first wake up
Don't linger. Get in the shower or bathe quickly, or consider taking a short brisk walk around the block.

With smoking buddies
This is a tough one! Visit your smoking buddies in places where you can't smoke - and don't be surprised if some try to tempt you back to smoking. It may be best to avoid them altogether for a week or two.

After lunch
Whether it's right after lunch or the mid-afternoon break, get up and go for a short walk. Stretch, and breathe deeply.

Between tasks
Take a break - just don't do it with smokers. Go for a short walk, or stand up and stretch. Or read a newspaper or book you enjoy.

Celebrate a win
Have a healthy snack - or if it's a big celebration, cut loose with a little chocolate or other treat. Think about how you'll reward yourself for staying smoke-free for the rest of the week - and then shop for the reward you choose.

After dinner
Get up and get going - do the dishes, take a walk, help the kids with their homework, go out for a special dessert. Or go to a movie or other place where you can't smoke - window-shopping at the mall, for example, or to a library.

Relaxing (watching TV, reading)
Change things around - rearrange the furniture when you quit, or sit in a different chair. Drink water, and get up and stretch out from time to time. Consider taking up a hobby - something for your hands and your mind, like knitting or model building. Or get some exercise in the evenings.

Talking on the phone
Change is key: Talk on a different phone, or move your phone to different place. Stand up when you talk instead of sitting. Keep straws or swizzle sticks handy to play with.

After a long meeting
Do something to energize yourself. Stand up and stretch out. Take a walk. Breathe deeply. Go visit someone you like (stick to nonsmokers for a while)

Out with friends
Look for nonsmoking activities you can enjoy with your friends, like a movie, play or concert. Keep a couple of rubber bands or paperclips to play with, and let your nonsmoking friends know you're quitting. Practice saying, "No thanks; I don't smoke," in case you are offered a cigarette.

Do something constructive with that angry energy - get some exercise! Take a brisk walk or run, ride a bike, jump rope, walk up some stairs. For the long term, think about why you're angry, and how you could constructively set about changing it.